The Forever War

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Bush appears in front of reporters at the National Counterterrorism Center (located at "an undisclosed site in Northern Virginia known as Liberty Crossing"–c'mon, New York Times, spill!) to warn that

The enemy has got an advantage when it comes to attacking our homeland: They got to be right one time and we've got to be right 100 percent of the time to protect the American people…..That plot [in England] and this building and the work going on here is really indicative of the challenge we face–not only this week, but this year and the years to come.

Did no one ask him how often we have to be right in Iraq to declare victory in that particular part of the war? Would once be enough?

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  1. “Did no one ask him how often we have to be right in Iraq to declare victory in that particular part of the war? Would once be enough?”

    I’d guess that no, no one asked him a question that inane. Having seen some of the White House Press conferences, tho, it’s not like evenmore inane questions haven’t been asked…

  2. When a critical mass of humans becomes peaceful anarchists, it will seem normal to realize governments exist only to make certain “we’s” into “they’s,” and to tilt at windmills at enormous expense.

  3. Said peaceful anarchists will then be killed and fed to the lions being kept as housepets by the smaller but vastly more effective mass of humans who realize that feeding pacifists to lions has no conceivable downside.

    Let’s face it, instead of defending themselves the pacifists will hold a rally… Thereby making it easier to round them up for the lions.

    Anyone who says “violence is never the answer” has either 1) never seen an average elementary school playground or 2) refuses to realize that it’s a terrifyingly accurate representation of human history in the span of 30 minutes.

  4. OK, rob-

    If your position is correct, where’s my cut of Iraq’s lunch money?

  5. P Brooks – Lunch money has nothing to do with it. People will feed other people to the lions for SPORT, no financial incentives necessary.

  6. I may be “Dial-Up Man” when it comes to internet access, but rob is “Dial-Up Man” when it comes to seeing the true faces of governments.

  7. I guess that would make Ruthless “Dial-Up Man” when it comes to “seeing the true faces of” human nature.

  8. As amusing as our “sporting” venture in Iraq might be for certain parties, there needs to be a payday of some sort. The Cowboys don’t play the Redskins for nothing.

  9. As amusing as our “sporting” venture in Iraq might be for certain parties, there needs to be a payday of some sort

    According to another post today, Section 111 of the new, freedom-enhancing Iraqi criminal code allows folks to murder people who insult Islam. Apparently many gay people are being killed and their murderers getting off scot-free under this law.

    So I’d like to remind you that the payoff is, we Americans have brought freedom and justice to Iraq, and helped make Sharia the law of the land (as part of our fight against militant Islam, of course). Really, what further payoff do you need?

  10. “If your position is correct, where’s my cut of Iraq’s lunch money?”

    The problem P.Brooks is that we are very good at beating people up but then we feel bad about it and won’t take their lunch money. If the U.S. really was the ruthless imperialistic empire the nitwit lefties accuse it of being, they would have rolled through Iraq, forcibly removed the population and pumped the place dry and we would have $0.30 a gallan gas. As it is, we just beat them up and give them our lunch money.

  11. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-525-2309812-525,00.html

    Jennifer feminist anti-war types are marching in London for those very same Shia militias in Lebenon. “We are all Hezbollah Now” seems to be the cry. I trust you are not among them and are happy to see the Israelis bomb the crap out of a bunch of barbarians who if given the chance would impose such oppression on women.

  12. Jennifer feminist anti-war types are marching in London for those very same Shia militias in Lebenon. “We are all Hezbollah Now” seems to be the cry. I trust you are not among them

    Nope, I’m here in Connecticut getting ready to go to work. So?

    happy to see the Israelis bomb the crap out of a bunch of barbarians who if given the chance would impose such oppression on women.

    It’s funny how most of the Lebanese corpses I’ve seen were of women with uncovered hair and Western dress. But that’s a great rhetorical move, John! If an American woman says something like “Christ, this Iraq adventure of ours is a clusterfucking debacle,” John can shout “ISRAEL FIGHTS THE ISLAMISTS WHO WANT TO PUT YOU IN A BURKA!!!” because that’s the only fucking argument he’s got left.

  13. “Really, what further payoff do you need?”

    Ahh- the Satisfaction of a Job Well Done. I ought to have known.

    Section 111, you say-
    And people think there’s no common ground between those rascally old Islamofascists and us; is that the Pat Robertson Clause? Maybe we could get a Constitutional Amendment defining gay-killing as “justifiable homicide”.

  14. P Brooks – well, you could have bought Halliburton a couple years ago. Or pretty much any energy stock. But everyone’s figured that out by now. I dunno how to cash in on the declare victory and get out phase.

    Missing out on the last 6 years of pork and no-bid contracts feels like not owning tech stocks in the 90s. Everyone else is getting rich!

  15. John,

    The problem P.Brooks is that we are very good at beating people up but then we feel bad about it and won’t take their lunch money.

    Perhaps you need to familiarize yourself with the history of the U.S. in the 19th century.

    If the U.S. really was the ruthless imperialistic empire the nitwit lefties accuse it of being, they would have rolled through Iraq, forcibly removed the population and pumped the place dry and we would have $0.30 a gallan [sic] gas.

    You’ll find that in general, empires don’t wipe out native populations. There are examples of that happening to be sure, but the more common response is to enslave or co-opt that population. That isn’t a comment on the current situation in Iraq.

  16. Jennifer,

    If you have any sympathy for Hezbollah, you are either incredibly naive, stupid, batshit insane or all three. You are so concerned about women in Iraq because it is a wonderful way to score political points here. You don’t give a rats ass the women being oppressed the PA or in Iran or in Southern Lebanon or the ethnic ghettos of Europe for that matter. When I hear you talk about those things, then I will listen to you about Iraq. Until then spare me your crocodile tears for the women of Iraq.

  17. “If the U.S. really was the ruthless imperialistic empire the nitwit lefties accuse it of being…”

    we would have bombed the stuffing out of Iran when they took the embassy in 1979, conquered Iraq the first time around (1991), and instead of sending prisoners to Gitmo they would be summarily executed upon capture. Or, one of my first thoughts after 9/11, land troops in Yemen and sweep north in a style similar to Sherman’s march thru Georgia, stopping when we got to Turkey. But we didn’t do any of those things. Go figure.

  18. If you have any sympathy for Hezbollah, you are either incredibly naive, stupid, batshit insane or all three.

    Is “having sympathy for secular Lebanese civilians” the same as “having sympathy for Hezbollah?” Because I’ll freely confess to the former.

    You don’t give a rats ass the women being oppressed the PA or in Iran or in Southern Lebanon or the ethnic ghettos of Europe for that matter. When I hear you talk about those things, then I will listen to you about Iraq.

    Your debate techniques are evolving! Now you try to gloss over the issue of Iraq by turning to the war’s opponents and saying “Oh, yeah? Well, what about the other 1,000 injusticies in the world right now, huh? Since you didn’t say anything about them in this thread, this means you don’t care about them so I don’t have to listen to you. Nyaah nyaah nyaah!”

    By the way, John, you’ve not said a word about the citizens of North Korea being systematically starved to death by their crazy leader. You don’t give a rat’s ass about the people dying for lack of food in Ethiopia or Darfur or small peninsular offshoots of Asia. When I hear you talk about those things, then I will listen to you about Iraq.

  19. If you have any sympathy for Hezbollah, you are either incredibly naive, stupid, batshit insane or all three.

    Is “having sympathy for secular Lebanese civilians” the same as “having sympathy for Hezbollah?” Because I’ll freely confess to the former.

    You don’t give a rats ass the women being oppressed the PA or in Iran or in Southern Lebanon or the ethnic ghettos of Europe for that matter. When I hear you talk about those things, then I will listen to you about Iraq.

    Your debate techniques are evolving! Now you try to gloss over the issue of Iraq by turning to the war’s opponents and saying “Oh, yeah? Well, what about the other 1,000 injusticies in the world right now, huh? Since you didn’t say anything about them in this thread, this means you don’t care about them so I don’t have to listen to you. Nyaah nyaah nyaah!”

    By the way, John, you’ve not said a word about the citizens of North Korea being systematically starved to death by their crazy leader. You don’t give a rat’s ass about the people dying for lack of food in Ethiopia or Darfur or small peninsular offshoots of Asia. When I hear you talk about those things, then I will listen to you about Iraq.

  20. “As amusing as our ‘sporting’ venture in Iraq might be for certain parties, there needs to be a payday of some sort. The Cowboys don’t play the Redskins for nothing.” – P Brooks

    People do evil shite to other people just because they can all the time, whether there’s actual gain in it for them or not. It’s just part of human nature.

    As for the football analogy, people play backyard football all the time without getting paid for it. In fact, it’s fairly obvious that the number of people who play football for fun far outnumber the number the relatively few who get paid to play…

    As for Iraq, I wish there was something in it for the US beyond demolishing an unfriendly regime to enhance our own national security — like creating a successful capitalist democractic republic that will be a beacon to other Middle Eastern countries — but that may not come to pass.

    Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give it a shot, and it doesn’t mean that enhancing national security for the U.S. isn’t enough self-interested “payoff” to make the effort worthwhile all on its own.

  21. This thread, like the entry that spawned it, just keeps comparing apples to lemons… To recap:

    The premise of the entry is that Bush made a GWOT comment and no one called him out on the fact that he stood on an aircraft carrier in front of a “mission accomplished” banner.

    Even if we ignore that the standard “mission accomplished” complaint is specious because for the sailors on the carrier who hung it, it was undoubtedly true (they HAD accomplished their mission and were heading home) the question would still be inane.

    Why would it still be inane? Because Bush’s comment was about defending the US on its home turf and was not about the Iraq war. Hence all of Bush’s rambling about how terrorists only have to have one offensive make it past U.S. defenses to succeed, but for the U.S. to successfully prevent them the U.S. must defeat them 100% of the time.

    This would have made a question about the aircraft carrier thing as a victory declaration inane. (Inane as in: lacking significance, meaning, or point : SILLY ).

    So then Ruthless segued into that bizarre bit about how the meek (anarchist pacifists) shall inherit the earth and reveal the true purpose of gov’t.

    Look, I see gov’t as a barely necessary evil and I don’t think I see its excesses through rose-colored glasses by any means.

    But I happen to think the idea that Ruthless’s claim that a utopia will be achieved by a “critical mass” of anarchist pacifists to be the LEAST likely of all the possible futures for humanity.

    In fact I think it’s a distant second in likelihood to the possibility that Communists will succeed in creating a “worker’s utopia” in their nation by slaughtering their own people – and I think THAT is about as likely as the odds that I will be named ?President of the World For All Eternity.?

  22. rob writes: “Even if we ignore that the standard “mission accomplished” complaint is specious because for the sailors on the carrier who hung it, it was undoubtedly true (they HAD accomplished their mission and were heading home) the question would still be inane.”

    Your excuse is specious because the banner wasn’t for the ship’s crew’s consumption. That was for national consumption, as a political prop. Nor have any other ships or military units been greeted by Bush with “mission accomplished” banners.

    Remember, this was when Rumsfeld said it probably wouldn’t take as long as 5 months, and Bush (among others) was stupid enough to believe it.

    That “Mission Accomplished” banner was referring to the whole war.

    Yes, the “it was just for the ship” is a crafty, almost believable excuse – but it’s a lie.

  23. “That ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner was referring to the whole war… Yes, the ‘it was just for the ship’ is a crafty, almost believable excuse – but it’s a lie.”

    I spent 5 years on the USS Enterprise. It’s believable to me, since I saw similar banners when we completed the 89-90 “World Cruise.” Similar banners are stuck on plenty of carriers at the end of their 6-month sea deployments.

  24. “That ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner was referring to the whole war… Yes, the ‘it was just for the ship’ is a crafty, almost believable excuse – but it’s a lie.”

    Roll on down to San Diego or Norfolk and you’ll see the same thing, I would guess.

    I spent 5 years on the USS Enterprise. It’s believable to me, since I saw similar banners when we completed the 89-90 “World Cruise.” Similar banners are stuck on plenty of carriers at the end of their 6-month sea deployments.

    While I don’t think Karl Rove and his minions are above the sort of thing you’re talking about, I don’t think this is an example of that.

  25. Hmmm… According to CNN, it’s both the Navy’s idea AND something the White House provided:

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/10/28/mission.accomplished/

    White House spokesman Scott McClellan told CNN that in preparing for the speech, Navy officials on the carrier told Bush aides they wanted a “Mission Accomplished” banner, and the White House agreed to create it.

    “We took care of the production of it,” McClellan said. “We have people to do those things. But the Navy actually put it up.”

    The banner has been used by critics of the Bush administration as evidence of bravado and an unclear sense of how dangerous the postwar conflict in Iraq would be.

    Assigning responsibility elsewhere, especially to the military, is not a typical move for the Bush administration and raised suspicions among critics.

    Cmdr. Conrad Chun, a Navy spokesman, defended the president’s assertion.

    “The banner was a Navy idea, the ship’s idea,” Chun said.

    “The banner signified the successful completion of the ship’s deployment,” he said, noting the Abraham Lincoln was deployed 290 days, longer than any other nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in history.

  26. “People do evil shite to other people just because they can all the time, whether there’s actual gain in it for them or not. It’s just part of human nature.”

    No- its part of SOME PEOPLEs human nature, Rob. The question is do you want people with those marked depravities having power over you. If you think its “human nature”, then you are happy to report that you do “evil shite” to people just because you can. Is that the case?
    As far as pacifism goes- its a good way to get machine gunned in a ditch. I believe if Ruthless were to read Bookchins “Spanish Anarchism- the Heroic Years”
    she (?) will find that in one of histories few recorded Anarchic societies, people were armed as a matter of course. Self defense is a birthright. Pacifism is a unhuman philosophy.

  27. Give up, Rob.
    Don’t you know that when Bush gives a speech about corn to farmers in Iowa, it’s actually code-speak for the war in Iraq?
    How naive you are!

  28. The Forever War is such a good book.

  29. Rob,

    I believe in self-defense, but we’re not really defending ourselves in Iraq. In fact, we are endangering ourselves more by stirring up more hatred for ourselves among middle-easterners. How many boys are going to grow up there, having lost their families to American bombs? We are breeding future terrorists.

  30. John,

    Who are the barbarians? Anybody that targets civilians like the Israelis do, is the barbarian. Besides, it is not up to the Israelis to determine what type of government Lebanon is to have. That’s the business of the Lebanese.

  31. rob,
    I don’t think you caught me saying one way or another is more likely. I usually just advocate what oughta be.

  32. Herb – if you believe that we can stir up any more hatred you have more faith in the innate goodness of humanity than I do. As for targetng civilians, that’s the way warfare has traditionally been carried out, even by “civilized peoples.” The way that wars are fought now, by western nation-states, is a relatively new concept, even for Western civilization.

    Wikipedia’s entry on civilian casualties points out that “The concept of fighting combatants and uninvolved civilians is mostly modeled after the situation in Europe at the beginning of the modern age.” The Middle East doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo, the Arab nations in particular.

    I’ve yet to see evidence that Israeli air strikes purposely targeted civilians, but it seems to be a point of pride with Hezbollah to both target Israeli civilians and to hide purposefully increase civilian casualties amongst Lebanese civilians as a cynical attempt to drive world opinion against the Israelis.

    “No- its part of SOME PEOPLEs human nature, Rob. The question is do you want people with those marked depravities having power over you. If you think its ‘human nature’, then you are happy to report that you do ‘evil shite’ to people just because you can. Is that the case?” – MUTT

    MUTT, I’m just saying that human nature encompasses a large portion of people willing to do evil shite. NO, for the record, I’m not advocating or excusing such behavior. What would lead you to think I was???I will say that I don’t want depraved people in charge any more than I want someone whose pacifist BS would encourage the idea that my country can be attacked with impunity. (Frankly, I’m basically a minarchist, so I really don’t want ANYONE in charge of me.)

    My point about pacifism is exactly the same as yours – I’m not sure where the disconnect is… But, realizing that humanity includes a large portion of people whose nature is to do evil shite to other people just because they can, do you think pacifism is a winning strategy? I’d guess not, and I’d guess that Darwin would agree.

  33. Ruthless, you’re right, I didn’t “catch you.”

    But…

    When you say “when” you actually mean “hypothetical magical day that in all actuality will never come”?

    “When a critical mass of humans becomes peaceful anarchists, it will seem normal to realize governments exist only to make certain ‘we’s’ into ‘they’s,’ and to tilt at windmills at enormous expense.” – Ruthless

  34. Among the current crop of “terrorists” in England, none had made a bomb, none had airline tickets, and only a few had passports.

    Looks like they were set up to boost the Bush-Blair duo after setbacks in Israel and Iraq. Of the thousands of Muslims arrested under anti-terrorism legislation in England, 80% are never charged, maybe 2% are convicted, but not of terrorism. I’m more worried about gullibility than terrorism. It’s a much bigger threat.

  35. I spent 5 years on the USS Enterprise. It’s believable to me, since I saw similar banners when we completed the 89-90 “World Cruise.” Similar banners are stuck on plenty of carriers at the end of their 6-month sea deployments.

    And the fact that the President just happened to be photographed in front of the banner, and the photograph just happened to be released to the public in a context which implied that the “Mission” was the war, is purely coincidence.

    You see, in the early days of the war the Bush administration never said things like “it’ll be a cakewalk” or “it’ll only take six months” or “we’ll be greeted as liberators and have flowers thrown at us” or “it won’t cost us anything because Iraqi oil proceeds will pay for it.” No. Right from the get-go Bush told us this would be a long, hard, expensive matter, but the evil mainstream media lied and told us it would be easy so that Bush would later look bad in retrospect.

  36. The Forever War is such a good book.

    I know, I’ve got a nice hardcover copy on my shelf right next to my copy of “Starship Troopers” (the one balances the other ideologically). One of the best novels featuring the problems on time dialation in interstellar travel.

  37. Seriously, there’s plenty to complain about the current administration without stretching out to the completely inconsequential.

    “And the fact that the President just happened to be photographed in front of the banner, and the photograph just happened to be released to the public in a context which implied that the ‘Mission’ was the war, is purely coincidence.” – Jennifer

    Anything you say, luv. Just one question… Doesn’t that tinfoil hat make your head itch? I mean the string of commentators and reporters involved in getting the context just the way you need it to be would surely spring a leak.

    (“I was told the true meaning of the banner and given my marching orders on how to discuss it’s significance by Karl Rove himself,” Dan Rather revealed during his exclusive interview of himself.)

    Besides which, I’m totally sorry that I even TRIED to point out the inconsistencies between complaining about people not asking questions about this during a speech about domestic terror attacks.

    We all know it’s much easier to argue about a banner, or the viability of pacifism. Trying to make a point about the actual entry was a waste of time, wasn’t it?

  38. Rob,

    There is nothing wrong with pacifism. You can be a pacifist and still believe in self-defense when necessary. My opposition is against a meddling foreign policy. It is wrong in principle and is counterproductive regarding Americans’ safety as it promotes hatred toward us and promotes terrorist acts against Americans. You say you are a minarchist. How can you say you support minimal government and support a meddling foreign policy. A meddling foreign policy is an example of big government, it also requires more government meddling in American’s lives to bring about more security against terrorists who are created by our foreign meddling.

    Regarding your claim that you havn’t seen any cases where Israelis purposely targeted civilians, there are plenty of cases presented in Anti-War.Com. For instance, their attacks on vehicles leaving the country and their attacks on emergency vehicles. Percentage wise, there were alot more Lebanese civilians killed than Hezbolla, but most of the Israelis who were killed were soldiers. Israel killed civilians to punish the Lebanese government for not handling Hezbolla. It amounted to group punishment.

  39. Herb – Mopst brands of pacifism generally discourage self-defense and even being prepared to conduct violence against those who are likely to conduct violence against you. (From wiki: “Pacifism covers a spectrum of views ranging from the belief that international disputes can and should be peacefully resolved, to absolute opposition to the use of violence, or even force, under any circumstances.”)

    While you and I might prefer peace to war, war is often the only solution to the conundrum of what to do about people who would prefer to see you and everyone like you dead.

    “Percentage wise, there were alot more Lebanese civilians killed than Hezbolla, but most of the Israelis who were killed were soldiers.” – Herb

    That’s because Hezbollah is unable to accruately target where its rockets hit, which limits both Israeli casualties overall and increases the # of IDF casualties because Hezbollah is less capable of targeting civilians as effectively as they are of shooting at IDF soldiers in proximity to them. There are more Lebanese civilian casualties because Hezbollah hides amongst the civilian population and launches rocket attacks fromthose locations. According to the principle of proportionality, some civilian casualties are acceptable in such a situation.

    Targeting Hezbollah rocket launch sites to protect Israeli civilians doesn’t seem like a bad thing, even if it takes out some Lebanese civilians. If a militia group in the U.S. was launching rocket attacks at Canadian population centers, I’d not shed a tear for Minnesotan civilian casualties who chose to live in proximity and were being used buy the militia as human shields.

    “Israel killed civilians to punish the Lebanese government for not handling Hezbolla. It amounted to group punishment.” – Herb

    You know this from what source? Yeah, that’s what I thought… you just pulled it out of your backside.

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